ICT is key enabler in 10th Plan blueprint

CYBERJAYA: The 10th Malaysia Plan clearly articulates the central role of ICT (information and communications technology) as the bedrock for the nation to vault forward to a high-value economy, said the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).

The quantum leap in the plan is how much more the ICT sector will see its role expand from being a vertical to include the horizontal as well, as it cuts across all spheres of the national economy and the Malaysian quality of life, said Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, MDeC chief executive.

This, he said, is clearly demonstrated in the fact that ICT is selected as an NKEA (National Key Economic Area).

He said it is important to note that Malaysia’s ICT industry, encompassing the hardware, software, services and telecommunications clusters, accounted for 9.8% of the nation’s total GDP (Gross Domestic Product) last year.

“This sector will continue to be a key focus for Malaysia and is expected to gain greater momentum driven by the convergence of industries due to digitalisation.

“The contribution of the ICT industry to GDP is targeted to increase to 10.2% by 2015. Greater use of ICT will not only support the growth of the sector but also boost productivity and raise the nation’s overall competitiveness,” Badlisham said in a press statement.

He said the imprint of ICT can be seen across the entire blueprint of the plan. “All the strategic areas mentioned by the Prime Minister have ICT written all over them.

“At MDeC we are very energised by the announcement as our next phase of growth, MSC 2.0 sits squarely in the epicenter of this ICT enablement.

“This essentially means that all our programmes are directly involved with various elements of the 10th Plan. This includes the ICT industry, small and medium enterprises (SME), social economic development, R&D initiatives, human capital, innovation and funding.”

Corner stone

According to Badlisham, development of the ICT industry will continue to be the key focus for MSC Malaysia.

In order to attain high growth from the industry, the country needs to shift from being a relatively large consumer, but small producer of ICT solutions, to a large producer and consumer of ICT solutions.

Malaysia also needs to advance from an average producer of general ICT products and services to a dominant producer of selected ICT products and services, hence progressing from a nett importer to a nett exporter.

“To this end, the initiatives announced by the Prime Minister in development, funding and support will facilitate local ICT players in growing and moving forward,” said Badlisham.

The SME space stands to benefit greatly as the laws around funding, failure and bankruptcy are a game changer, he said.

“MDeC welcomes the Government’s policy to make it easier for SMEs to participate in government procurement because we have highlighted the need for the Government to support our local companies so that they can have success stories as reference in order to participate in international bidding.

“MSC Malaysia-status companies will also be able to take advantage of the Working Capital Guarantee and the Industry Restructuring Loan Guarantee schemes,” he said.

Another area in which MDeC will take a leading role is in cloud computing. This will enable SMEs to move from a capex to opex scenario giving them speed, agility and huge cost savings. In this sense, ICT becomes a utility similar to electricity or water.

Also of particular interest is the creative multimedia space where MDeC is spearheading a move to make Malaysia a hub for animation, filmmaking and games. The 10th Plan clearly shows that the Government will be formulating a policy to help drive these efforts further, Badlisham said.

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